SAU No. 5
Superintendent James Morse
36 Coe Drive
Durham, NH 03824
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Oyster River Mental Health Wellness Committee to Host Community Forum
DURHAM — The Oyster River High School Student Mental Health Wellness Committee is pleased to announce that it will host a forum later this month and invites the public to attend.
Thursday, Nov. 29 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
A fall harvest community dinner will be held prior to the event from 5-6:30 p.m. To RSVP and purchase tickets, click here.
Oyster River High School, 55 Coe Drive
As part of the district’s work to improve mental health awareness and support, students in the Mental Health Wellness Committee organized an evening for community members to learn more about mental illness, stigma and adolescent brain development.
Following the tragic passing of an Oyster River student last year, a group of students approached high school administrators to form a mental health group, and thus the committee was formed. Members include juniors Joe Morrell, Grace Smith and Genevieve Weichert, and seniors Kerstin Nielsen, Roni Robert and Emma Wiechert.
“We as a group are committed to continuing the important conversation around mental health and stigma and sharing the message of awareness, resilience and hope,” said Kindergarten through 12th grade Counseling Director Heather Machanoff, who is an adviser on the committee. “Through our events we work to spread awareness and reduce stigma, make others aware of the resources available and share the message that mental illness is treatable and suicide is preventable.”
Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and will hear personal stories of awareness, resilience and hope from those directly affected by a mental illness.
The committee will also make special presentations to students during the day. Freshmen will learn about adolescent brain development, while sophomores and juniors will receive information from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill – New Hampshire.
Smith will also share a personal story with 10th and 11th grade students about her brother who was recently diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder, Depressive Type. Representatives from the University of New Hampshire Office of Health and Wellness will present to seniors on substance use and misuse.
“By sharing my story I hope to provide my peers with more information in order to leave them more educated on the subject,” Smith said. “By educating our society on mental illnesses I believe we can reduce the stigma that surrounds them and help those suffering find the help and support they need and deserve.”